In Sweden we sometimes buy fish fillet in a fried square form, called "fiskpinnar". Growing up in the city as I have, you tend to forget how far away such finished food is from "real" food, and almost unconsciously believe that such little squares of fishes are swiming around in the sea. A few weeks ago, I was on the west coast of Sweden, and then I both experienced a life much closer to nature, and met some new and old friends, and swam to Norway - from the west! :)
Picture by me from a friend's shower curtain.
"Why don't you come to Krokstrand?", a friend of mine asked. "I am going!" It was then still a week before the Krokstrand festival - a tango festival - was about to start, and it was therefore long before I would decide on such a matter. I usually decide upon such things literary a few minutes before they are about to start (see also this blog). Nevertheless, time went by, and I did eventually decide to go. And now - when I am back again - I just want to share shortly with you, three small observations I made during this trip. Observations that end up in the call for us to restructure our society in a way that is more based on voluntary contributions, based on what we want to do.
The first thing that I realized was how nice it is to eat food where you see the whole chain of events leading up to you eating it. I lived in a very simple little annex to a cottage, out on the country side. The water supply consisted of a little well on the grounds, with a lake nearby. This lack-of-running water neither bothered nor excited me very much when I came, apart from that I quite generally like simplicity in life. But what really got me going, was a reply from the owner of the house, when I said that I was hungry: "Why don't you dig up some potatoes over there, and then pick some sallad and spices over there, and cook something?". Suddenly I looked at the little garden he had, and realized that it is just like a big refridgerator: i.e. like a store of food underground - that I was looking at Nature's own refridgerator. I totally enjoyed the food I had digged up, simple but supertasty, and this made me even further strengthen my belief that I want to live in such a way myself one day - my future yoga retreat centre is certainly going to grow its own food as far as possible.
Picture taken while walking to the tango place. Our Swedish fairy tales (and my favourite child hood comic: Bobo) talk about how the elfs dance in the morning mist. This inspired me to want to dance just as inspired and magical as the elfs can.
The second little observation was a purely geographical one, done late one night. It turns out that Krokstrand lies just on the border between Norway and Sweden, and that the border consists of a fjord, i.e. a river-like lake with completely still and beautiful water. In other words, on the one side of this fjord lies Norway and on the other lies Sweden. And, as with so many Norwegian fjords, they turn quite a lot, and it so happened that at precisely this spot, this turning had implied that the Swedish side lied to the west of the Norwegian side. Therefore, when I joined a group of friends to go swiming, after an unusually nice dance evening dancing tango late into the night and into the morning, some of us decided to swim all the way to the other side. So: now I have managed the quite spectacular feat of swiming to Norway - from the west!
The final observation was done on the way home from Krokstrand, and concerns the bus-system. It started out negatively: there are no buses going from Krokstrand in the weekends, but only in the week days. This is a bit weird, and I think that they at least should have a taxi-bus system, so that you can order a bus, if there is a need for one - otherwise this forces people who live there to have a car. In any case, I managed to get a lift with some friends who were going in the right direction, and they dropped me off in a seemingly very desolate place, Hallinden, which consisted of a few houses, and a bus stop.
However, after having spent a little time there, I noticed that the bus stop had some quite unusual decorations and inventories. More specifically, the bus stop was part of a pilot project called "Rolig hållplats", and it meant that three people had gotten the task to create a more entertaining and informative bus stop - to stimulate a more environmental friendly way of touristing.
When I started reading, I quickly became quite enthusiastic, not only because it contained information about nearby sites to visit by bus, from where I was standing, but also because it was so nicely and personally formed. It was as much about the games etc that they had installed, as about the process they had gone through in inventing all this stuff, and it was this personal touch - learning about the people behind it - that made me especially happy. Games are fun, but learning about nice people doing nice things warms my heart, and instills in me a sense of hope about our common future.
I strongly believe that our world needs so much more of things like this: where people spend time, creativity, and positive energy to create a more warm and friendly place for us to live in. I also don't think that it needs to be that expensive, so that it becomes a balancing between letting buses go to Krokstrand in the weekends and making the bus stops more friendly. I instead believe that it is possible to re-structure our society in such a way that much more of our time is voluntary, and where we ourselves can take a personal responsibility to improving our world in new previously unthought-of ways - ways that could never be ordered from above, but comes from individuals seeing a need, a potential, and then deciding to step up and do something about it because they want to. I therefore end with a TED-talk that deals with part of this restructuring. Main message: we are the society, and we now have a technology to start changing its governing quite fundamentally - even regarding seemingly mundane things like the taking care of bus stops.